March 31, 2012
China successfully delivered the APSTAR 7 Communications Satellite to Orbit. The Payload was launched at 10:27 GMT on Saturday from the Xichang Satelltie Launch Center, Sichuan province, China, aboard a Long-March Launch Vehicle in its 3B/E Configuration featuring an enlarged first stage and liquid-fueled strap-on boosters. The three Stage Rocket performed as expected. To deliver APSTAR Spacecraft to its targeted Supersynchronous Transfer Orbit, the third Stage of the Vehicle made two Engine Burns. The Payload’s initial transfer trajectory was a 200 by 50,281 Kilometer Orbit with an inclination of 27.4 degrees. Spacecraft Separation occurred approximately 26 Minutes after Liftoff at 10:53 GMT. Chinese Media reports that the mission was successful with nominal performance of the Long March Launch Vehicle. Today’s Mission marked the 19th Flight of the Long March 3B Vehicle and the 50th Flight of the Long March 3 Series. It was the first Commercial Flight for China in 2012. Commercial Launches of Chinese Vehicles are operated by the China Great Wall Industry Corporation.
APSTAR 7 is an advanced telecommunication satellite and an orbital replacement for an old-generation satellite that is currently part of the APSTAR Constellation. The Payload is based on the Spacebus 4000 C2 Satellite Platform and was built by Thales Alenia Space France. The Satellite Bus is a flight proven design that supports a Payload Mass of 3,000 to 5,900 Kilograms. APSTAR 7 has a liftoff mass of 5,054 Kilograms and is outfitted with 28 C-Band and 28 Ku-Band Transponders. Once at its desired location in Geostationary Orbit at 76.5° East Longitude, the Satellite will replace APSTAR-2R. The new satellite provides C-Band Coverage for Asia, Africa, Australia and part of Europe. Ku-Band Beam Coverage for China Beam, Middle East & North Africa will be provided by the Satellite. The Payload is being operated by the APT Satellite Company that is currently coordinating a fleet of five satellites providing coverage for 75% of the world's population in Asia, Europe, Africa and Australia. The Satellite is expected to operate for at least 15 years following several weeks of commissioning and orbit adjustments.